Case of European Court of Human Rights, April 08, 2010 (case Namat Aliyev v. Azerbaijan)

Resolution DateApril 08, 2010

Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 129

April 2010

Namat Aliyev v. Azerbaijan - 18705/06

Judgment 8.4.2010 [Section I]

Article 3 of Protocol No. 1

Stand for election

Failure by domestic authorities to adequately investigate complaints of electoral irregularities: violation

Facts – The applicant complained of a series of irregularities in parliamentary elections in which he had been credited with 14.19% of the vote behind the winning candidate in his constituency, who was credited with 41.25%. In complaints to the Constituency Electoral Commission and the Central Electoral Commission, he alleged various irregularities – including unlawful interference, undue influence, ballot-box stuffing, the harassment of observers, inaccuracies in the electoral rolls and discrepancies in electoral protocols. In support of his allegations, he submitted to the Central Electoral Commission originals of affidavits by election observers, together with audio tapes and other evidence. The Constituency Electoral Commission rejected the applicant’s complaint as unsubstantiated without further elaboration, while the Central Electoral Commission did not reply to the applicant but issued a final protocol approving the overall election results nationwide.

The applicant appealed to the court of appeal, but it dismissed his claims as unsubstantiated, after ruling that the photocopies of the affidavits he had produced were inadmissible in evidence as domestic law required production of either the originals or notarised copies. A further appeal to the Supreme Court was also dismissed. Although the applicant explained that the original affidavits were with the Central Electoral Commission, the Supreme Court noted that he had failed to establish that he had lodged a complaint with that body.

Law – Article 3 of Protocol No. 1: The Court noted, firstly, that it was not the applicant’s right to win the election that was at stake, but his right to stand freely and effectively for it. It therefore rejected the Government’s argument that the applicant had finished too far behind the official winner of the election for the alleged irregularities to have made any difference to the result. The irregularities alleged by the applicant were serious as, if confirmed, they were capable of thwarting the democratic process. His complaints had been examined at the domestic level, so the Court’s role was limited to verifying whether that examination was effective and devoid of...

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